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16.1 The glory that you felt from love only seemed to be available from one and not from another. Love is not available from anyone in the way you think it is. Love has but one source! That this source lies within each of you does not make it many sources, for the many of you have but one source as well. This common source does not make any of you special, but all of you the same.
16.2 You may ask now why it doesn’t seem so, and the only answer is that you do not want it to. You perceive but what you wish for, and your wish for specialness leads you not to see sameness anywhere at all, for what is the same cannot be special.
16.3 You all are familiar with the “problem” child who seeks love and attention in ways deemed inappropriate. You know this child is no less than any other child, and what he seeks the same as any other. Yet if this child grows up with behavior that remains unchanged you call him deviant or criminal, and claim that it is not love he seeks, and that he is now less than those who once were the same as he. What is the same does not change and become different. Innocence is not replaced by sin.
16.4 What you do to criminals you do but to yourself and to those you claim to love with a special love. For you do not see them in the changeless innocence in which they were created and remain, but with the eyes of judgment. That you have judged and found the ones you love good and worthy of your love makes not your judgment justified any more than the judgment that condemns a body to death or to “life” in prison.
16.5 Life in prison and a body condemned to death is what judgment does to all of you who believe that what is the same can be made different. This is as true of the love you reserve for special ones as it is of the condemnation you reserve for others you have singled out. For judgment is what is required to make one special and another not.
16.6 Without judgment there would be no separation, for you would see no difference between yourself and your brothers and sisters. Your judgment began with your own self, and from it was all conflict born. Without differences there is no cause for conflict. Judgment makes different. It looks past what is the same and sees it not and sees instead what it is looking for. What you are looking for is what you will find, but finding it does not make it the truth, except as it is the truth about what you choose to see. Your choice lies with God or with the self you believe you have succeeded in separating from Him, and based on this choice alone is how you see determined.
16.7 Judgment is the function the separated mind has given itself. This is where all of its energy is expended, for constant judgment is required to maintain the world you see. The Holy Spirit can replace your specialness with a special function; but this function cannot be yours while you choose judgment itself as your proper role.
16.8 Only your heart can lead you to the forgiveness that must overcome judgment. A forgiven world is a world whose foundation has changed from fear to love. Only from this world can your special function be fulfilled and bring the light to those who still live in darkness.
16.9 Child of God, see you how important it is that you listen to your heart! Your heart does not want to see with judgment or with fear. It calls to you to accept forgiveness that you may give it and henceforth look upon the forgiven world with love.
16.10 I repeat again that reason does not oppose love, as your split mind would have you believe it does. For your split mind judges even love and opposes it on the basis that it uses no judgment! Here you can see the value that you place on judgment, even to the ridiculous notion that you can judge judgment itself. You deem yourself capable of making good judgments and poor judgments, and you deem love as being capable of neither. Love seems to operate on its own apart from what your mind would bid it do, and this is why you fear it even while you yearn for it. This is what the split mind would call reason—a world in which there are two sides to everything and two sides that oppose each other. How can this be reason? The truth opposes nothing, nor does love.
16.11 Again your memory of creation serves you, even if it has not served you well. It is this memory that tells you that love does not judge, and only your split mind that has made of this memory what will serve its purpose. What it calls a deficiency is your saving grace. Letting go of what your mind would tell you in favor of what your heart already knows is but the purpose of this Course.
16.12 Only forgiveness replaces judgment, but true forgiveness is as foreign to you as is true love. You think forgiveness looks upon another in judgment and pardons the wrongs you would enumerate. True forgiveness simply looks past illusion to the truth where there are no sins to be forgiven, no wrongs to be pardoned. Forgiveness looks on innocence and sees it where judgment would see it not.
16.13 This form of forgiveness seems impossible to you because you look upon an unforgiven world where evil walks, danger lurks, and nowhere is safety to be found. Each separated one is out for his or her own self, and if you do not watch out for your own safety, surely you will perish. Yet while you watch vigilantly, you know that you cannot protect yourself and that you are not safe. There is only one of you and so many of “them.” Never can you keep your guard up quite enough or secure a final guarantee against disaster. And yet you cling to all attempts to do so even while knowing they are ineffective.
16.14 You think you cannot give up your vigilance because you know no other way to ensure your safety, and even if you cannot guarantee your safety against everything all of the time, you believe you can guarantee your safety against some things some of the time. And for this occasional protection that has no validity and no proof you give up love!
16.15 While you claim you need proof before you can believe or accept something as a fact or as the truth, and certainly before you can act upon it, you live as if you believe that what has never worked before will somehow miraculously work in the future. You have nothing but evidence of a life of unhappiness and despair, where occasional moments of joy or the few people that you love out of the many that you do not are all that make your life worth living. You think that to be asked to give up the caution, protection, and vigilance that protects these moments of joy and people you love as well as your own self is to be asked to live a life of even greater risk than that which you live now.
16.16 Your judgment has not made the world a better place! If history proves anything, it proves the opposite of what you would care to believe. The more the individual, society, and culture indulge in the desire to judge, the more godlike they think they make themselves. For all of you here know that judgment is not your place, and that it belongs to God and God alone. This is firmly attached to your memory of creation. To wrestle the right to judge away from God is an act against God, and like a child who has dared to defy his parents, the act of defiance fills the defiant one with boldness. Something dangerous has been tried and has seemingly succeeded. The order of the universe has flipped. The child believes she has “stolen” the role of parent away from the parent without having become a parent. God has become the enemy to those who judge just as the parent of a defiant child becomes the enemy in the child’s perception.
16.17 But the child is wrong. The child has made a mistake. And with this mistake, the child believes that the relationship with the parent has been severed. It is this belief in a severed relationship with God that seems to replace the holy relationship that cannot be replaced. Judgment thus reinforces the idea of separation, making of it something even darker than it started out as being. It no longer seems like a choice that the child has made, but seems to be an irreparable rift that a new choice cannot mend.
16.18 Child of God, this is not so and cannot ever be, for the right to judge is but the right of the Creator who judges all of creation as it was created and remains. You only think that you have changed the unchangeable.
16.19 Judgment does not make you safe, and defining evil does not abolish it, but only makes it real to you. Yet you believe judgment to be based on justice, and justice to include the punishment of those you have defined as evil. You have thus made justice one with vengeance, and in doing so have robbed justice of its meaning.
16.20 Those who sit in judgment call upon their power to do what it cannot do. All power comes from love, as does all justice. Any basis other than love for power or for justice makes a mockery of both. Might makes right is a saying that is known to many of you, and even those who know the saying do not believe in the tenets it represents. This, you will claim, you have evidence for. It is all around you. The strong survive and the weak perish. The mighty prevail, and so define what is right for all those over whom they prevail. Those in power are those who make the laws, and those who have no power must obey them.
16.21 And yet you are as frightened of those who have no power as those who do. Criminals are feared and shunned, and yet they have no power but that which they make from their own selves. You want power to come only through legitimate channels and do not want those who have no power to possess it through the same weapons or might that you claim make those in authority powerful. While you want those to whom you have given power to protect you, you also fear them, and they in turn fear the powerless who might take away their power or rise up against them. What kind of power is it that needs to be constantly defended? What is it about the powerless that frightens you, except that they might not accept their powerless state? And what does this say but what history has shown you—that who is powerful and who is not is not determined by might or any authority that can be given and taken away. Power is possessed by those who claim it. By those who cry I am. For the beginning of power comes from the rejection of powerlessness. The rejection of powerlessness is but a step toward your identity achieved through the awakening of love of Self.
16.22 What misery the world has suffered in the name of judgment, power, and justice. What misery can be avoided by finding the true power inherent in your identity. For you are not powerless. Those of you who think you have traditional means of power on your side turn not to your own power, and then you wonder why those most spiritual, both currently and historically, seem to suffer hardship. Yet it is often only those who suffer hardship who will rise up and claim the power that is their own instead of looking for it elsewhere. Your perception but looks at power backward and wonders why God has forsaken a people who seem to be so godly.
16.23 God forsakes no people, but people forsake God when they give away their power and claim not their birthright. Your birthright is simply the right to be who you are, and there is nothing in the world that has the power to take this right from you. The only way you lose it is by giving it away. And this you do.
16.24 God wants no sacrifice from you, yet when you give away your power you make of yourself a sacrificial lamb, an offering unto God that God does not want. You look back on stories of sacrifice from the Bible and think what a barbaric time that was, and yet you repeat the same history but in different form. If a talented physician were to give up his power to heal you would surely call it a waste, and yet you give up your power to be who you are and think it is just the way life is. You give away your power and then bow down to those whom you have given it to, for you are afraid of nothing more than your own power.
16.25 This fear but stems from what you have used your power for. You know your power created the world of illusion in which you live, and so you think another must be able to do it better. You no longer trust yourself with your own power, and so you have forgotten it and realize not how important it is for it to be reclaimed. As good as you may want to be, you would still go meekly through your life trying to comply with rules of God and man with thought of some greater good in mind. If everyone did what he or she wanted to do, you reason, society would collapse and anarchy would rule. You think you are only fair in deciding that if everyone cannot do what they would want, then you, too, must abdicate your wishes for the common good. You thus behave in “noble” ways that serve no purpose.
16.26 If you cannot claim at least a small amount of love for your own Self, then neither can you claim your power, for they go hand-in-hand. There is no “common good” as you perceive of it, and you are not here to assure the continuance of society. The worries that would occupy you can be let go if you but work instead for the return of heaven and the return of your own Self.
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